3 Sep 2014

UN head condemns killing of US journalists

1:03 pm on 3 September 2014

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the killing of American journalists by Islamic State jihadists.

An image grab of Steven Sotloff taken from a video released by the Islamic State.

An image grab of Steven Sotloff taken from a video released by the Islamic State. Photo: AFP / HO / SITE INTELLIGENCE GROUP

A video, released on the internet today, shows a masked militant with a British accent cutting the throat of Steven Sotloff.

Mr Sotloff, 31, disappeared in Syria in 2013. He appeared at the end of a video last month which showed fellow United States journalist James Foley being killed, also by having his throat cut.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Photo: AFP

Mr Ban, speaking at Auckland University today, said he condemned the beheadings in the strongest possible terms.

After Mr Foley's death, Mr Sotloff's mother appealed to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to save her son's life.

Mr Sotloff's family was aware of a video purporting to show his murder and were grieving privately, the BBC reported.

The video, released on the internet, shows a masked militant with a British accent cutting the throat of Steven Sotloff.

Mr Sotloff, 31, disappeared in Syria in 2013. He appeared at the end of a video last month which showed fellow US journalist James Foley being killed, also by having his throat cut.

After Mr Foley's death, Mr Sotloff's mother appealed to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to save her son's life, the BBC reports.

An Islamic State jihadist before he apparently beheads Steven Sotloff taken from a video released by the Islamic State.

An Islamic State jihadist before he apparently beheads Steven Sotloff taken from a video released by the Islamic State. Photo: AFP / HO / SITE INTELLIGENCE GROUP

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said United States officials were checking the reports.

The US has recently carried out dozens of air strikes against IS targets in Iraq.

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said the apparent beheading was a way for IS to get back at the US for its actions.

The video shows a masked figure together with Mr Sotloff, who is dressed in an orange jumpsuit.

The masked man describes the act he is about to commit as retribution for the US air strikes.

"I'm back, Obama, and I'm back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State... despite our serious warnings," the fighter said.

"We take this opportunity to warn those governments that enter this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State to back off and leave our people alone."

The video ends with the militant threatening to kill another Western captive.

Mr Earnest urged caution about the veracity of the video.

"Our thoughts and prayers, first and foremost, are with Mr Sotloff and Mr Sotloff's family and those who worked with him," he said.

"I'm not in a position to confirm the authenticity of that video or the reports."

"If there is a video that's been released, it's something that will be analysed very carefully by the US government and our intelligence officials to establish its authenticity."

Arthur Sotloff, father of slain journalist Steven Sotloff, leaves their family home in Pinecrest, Florida.

Arthur Sotloff, father of slain journalist Steven Sotloff, leaves their family home in Pinecrest, Florida. Photo: REUTERS

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